'Oil Waves' is the writing blog of Wes Viola, a pen name of Wes White.
A Glastonian now living and working in London, Wes is an Elder Bard of Ynys Witrin (Glastonbury), having won the title in 2015.
He is an alumnus of Goldsmiths' Creative & Life Writing MA and was the 2013 poetry winner at Wells Literary Festival.
Now you see it / now you don’t.
As if energised by the rain, the ground shifts
in numerous places
simultaneously: now in front, now behind.
Now beneath the pond, now around the
now beyond. Now under my knuckles.
Now under my knees.
Too close for comfort. I start back,
away from it. Then
I can take it all in - its undulating
animating the foundation. The ground churning.
Now and then (or now and now – and now! And
now! And now!)
its skin can be seen, glinting silver.
And it’s enormous:
a monster. I’m reminded suddenly, incongruously,
of the encyclopaedias
I’d kneel and learn of heraldry in:
a serpent, argent.
A snake, rampant.
An adder, courant.
In the reflection of the heavens, the
clouds have gained negative height,
turned to inverse nimbus. Around it,
turns and turns
up and down, in and out between
the liminals of the elements…
nimble as lightning
through the muck!
I notice it’s
into an unbroken ring.
For #NaPoWriMo2018 I set myself the task of writing a poem for each letter of the English (and hence, if you prefer, Latin) alphabet. The encyclopedias mentioned in this poem were a big part of my long-held desire to undertake this project - the ones we had in the house when I was a child, 'The Book of Knowledge', had entries for each letter which described their origin.
The poems are a sequence and you can read the first thirteen under each of these links:
I am clearly not going to make it to the end of the alphabet before the end of the month, my intention to produce a poem a day having been derailed by a bout of sickness; however I will continue the project into May and so hope to conclude my pilgrimage to the letter Z a little later in the spring.
The letter 'N' is derived from an Egyptian hieroglyph for a snake. In later incarnations of the letter it was called 'Nun' and represented a fish; so the water association here - which has carried over from the poem for 'M' - is appropriate. A 'Nāga' as mentioned in the poem is a word in Indian and other cultures for a snake, and in particular a King Cobra, and in even more particularity still, a divine 'great snake'. There's a strong temptation to go very 'negative' with 'n': no, not, nowhere, never, un-, in-, anti -. I didn't want to get sucked into that so resisted it as much as I could. A couple of those words have snuck in, nevertheless.
April is #napowrimo ('National' poetry writing month), an annual challenge to write a poem a day, and post each one to your blog. The dedicated website also offers optional daily prompts. I've been thinking for some time of writing a series focussed on the 26 letters of the ISO basic Latin alphabet, and April having 30 days seems to fit quite well with doing this (and leaving myself room to skip some days, as I will inevitably end up doing. In fact if I only skip four I'll be doing far better than I normally do at these things, but I fancy my chances of getting to 'B', at least). In relation to this first step on the journey, I also recommend reading Malcolm McNeill's article 'A' is for Girl. Aside from those associations, this gate where we begin is guarded by a bull. 'A' is thought to be derived from an Egyptian hieroglyph of an ox's head. So - grabbing the bull by the horns: ------------ A A crack in the cave wall – an aperture to
a view …
I am writing a poem for every letter of the English (or, if you prefer, international standard Latin) alphabet, this NaPoWriMo.
You can find the poems so far under the following links: ABCDEFG On Monday I stumbled across this beautiful diagram of the letters' histories by UsefulCharts - have a look.
'H' is derived from a symbol for a fence! Now I think it's a stile. ------------ H
Here is a hare. He hears your heart. “Hello”, puts forth the fair-haired hare, “have
to rush… horribly behind
for a hugely himportant happointment”.
(That’s how you think you heard it in your human head. What he said
was holy - hard to echo here). “…have to rush…Heavens!Hades!”
he hops, hurriedly,
under a hurdle in the hawthorn hedgerow. Hmm…
Day 8 of #NaPoWriMo and I'm only on the 6th letter of the alphabet. Maybe I'll try to do more than one a day for a couple of days to catch up. You can read the first poems in the series here: ABCDE
'F' is descended from the Semitic letter 'waw' (the letter's 'f' and 'w' are surprisingly closely related - to find out why, make a 'w' sound and draw your bottom lip back towards your top teeth so it becomes a 'v' - and keep going...) - its hieroglyphic ancestor probably stood for a club or a mace. ------------ F
The frequency fades
and you follow his frantic gaze floorwards, where, freakishly, you find ’e’s
sinking in to the ground! First his feet, followed fast
by his fit legs, and the rest of his frame….
his femurs, fibula, fat gut, false teeth - all the way - to that furrowed forehead
and the follicles of his fine coiffure. Even then his arms remain aloft. In five seconds flat, he’s in up to his
funny bones, and only now that he’s nothin…